Apple scrap vinegar is a quick and easy way to turn apple scraps into homemade apple cider vinegar (ACV). Apple cider vinegar can be used as a home remedy for everything from warts to sunburn to acid reflux, and makes a tasty salad dressing.
Apple Scrap Vinegar Recipe
Easy, inexpensive homemade apple Cider vinegar made from apple scraps.
- Apple scraps, about a quart – you may use cores, peels or even chunks of banged up apples. Just don't use anything rotten or moldy.
- 1/2 cup sugar (or honey)
- 1 quart warm water
- 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (optional)
If you want to make larger batches, just keep the same ratios.
Mix sugar in water to dissolve. In a 2 quart mason jar or other large, nonreactive container (use glass, food grade plastic or stainless steel) add apple parts and enough sugar water to cover.
I like to fill the 2 quart mason jar about half full of apple scraps, then cover with a quart of sugar water. This gives you ample room to mix without spilling, and also allows plenty of room for bubbles formed during fermentation.
Add raw apple cider vinegar, if desired. This isn't absolutely needed, but will help jumpstart the ferment. If you have had mold issues in your ferments before, the vinegar is a good safeguard.
Stir vigorously and cover opening with a cloth and rubber band to keep out fruit flies but allow natural yeasts in. Initially the smell should start out like apples and hooch (the microbes will produce alcohol before they switch to vinegar), then the sour vinegar smell will develop.
I do not use a weight to keep the apple scraps down, but I do stir them daily and push them below the liquid.
Keep jar at room temperature and stir daily for about a week. Strain out apple chunks and compost them (or give them to the chickens).
Return to fermenting vessel with airlock or cloth cover and ferment for 2-3 more weeks, stirring occasionally.
Strain and bottle.
Use for cooking, cleaning, critters or health, and enjoy your homemade vinegar that only cost you pennies to make.
Make sure to use clean, non-chlorinated water. Many municipalities add chlorine to the city water. This will kill your vinegar yeast. Use filtered water, distilled water, well water – anything that doesn't have chlorine and is safe to drink.
Is Homemade Vinegar Safe for Canning?
Homemade apple cider vinegar is not recommended for canning, because the pH will vary from batch to batch.
If you wanted to create a homemade vinegar that was safe to use in canning recipes, you'd need a pH of 2.4. (You can test pH with a digital pH tester.)
Can I Use an Air Lock or Tightly Sealed jar?
To make homemade vinegar using this recipe, you want to catch wild yeast. The wild yeast does the fermenting. This mean that you need to have the ferment open to the air.
This is why I recommend covering the jar with a cloth and rubber band. A paper towel held on with a canning ring will also work. The cloth also allows the ferment to vent carbon dioxide, while still keeping out fruit flies.
Don't use an airlock, or seal the jar when you're brewing your vinegar. Do stir daily to help introduce air to the ferment. Make sure to push the fruit below the water to help avoid spoilage.
Once fermentation is active and you strain the apple chunks out, then you can put on an airlock if you choose. Do not store the vinegar in a tightly sealed container immediately after removing the apples.
Fermentation is likely to continue for a couple more weeks, which produces carbon dioxide gas. If you transfer to a closed jar, beware of explosive gas buildup.
Do I need to add the sugar?
Some recipes for homemade vinegar skip the sugar. I add sugar because it helps to jump start the fermentation process and ensures a nice, strong vinegar.
The sugar is eaten by the wild yeast that turn the apple water mix into vinegar. You don't end up with a sweet product.
If you end up with too much water and not enough apple bits, the mixture might not be quite acidic enough to stop mold growth.
Homemade Vinegar for the Flock and the Stock
In the backyard or barnyard, add apple cider vinegar to drinking water to improve flock and stock health. It also helps prevent scum buildup inside watering containers.
Add one tablespoon of vinegar per gallon of water. Just make sure to use plastic or glass waterers, as the acidity of the apple scrap vinegar will corrode metal.
See “The Small Scale Poultry Flock” for more on using ACV with your flock.
Homemade Vinegar to Remove Odors
Vinegar has a long history of use as an odor remover.
My friend, Kelly, notes:
“My grandma used to put a vinegar soaked bread slice in the garbage after a fish fry. It soaks up odors.”
Some people place a small dish of vinegar in the refrigerator for the same purpose.
I've also seen people talking about using the vinegar soaked bread trick to deodorize the garage, but I think that area is too large for it to work effectively.
For larger areas, I'd suggest the article, “Musty Smells in the House – Finding Them and Getting Rid of Them“.
You may also enjoy:
- Preserve Apples for Year Round Use 17 Easy and Creative Ways
- Easy Apple Crisp
- Cranberry-Apple Pie with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon
Originally published in 2016, last updated in 2020.